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Playing the Time Card
Radiometric Dating

“Researchers have uncovered biological molecules like
proteins, DNA, and pigments from rocks…supposedly millions
of years old…Many of these materials…will only survive
thousands, not millions, of years.”
Brian Thomas

 

Deep time is presented as the mother lode of evolution theory.

Without mega-millions of years, evolutionary conjecture washes away like fool’s gold in a mountain stream. More than a century after Charles Darwin challenged the Genesis account regarding the origin of life on Earth, his conjectures continue to defy validation.

© Warren L. Johns

Ever since Darwin first floated his ideas in 1859, scientific evidence has been unkind to his theory.  By tests he himself set up, the case for evolution hangs in unscientific limbo, a shadowy phantom of a discredited idea.

Where Darwin predicted species extinction, stasis persists: thousands of complex life forms appear without a trace of prior ancestry; physical changes resulting from use or non-use of a body part don’t pass to descendants; the billions of fossil transitionals, imperative to evolution, continue missing; and irreducible complexity stymies projected incremental changes.

Natural selection shies away from the mutation placebo.

Darwin’s finches remain finches; thousands of generations of laboratory- induced mutations in bacteria produce more bacteria; and fruit fly offspring may add or subtract a wing or a leg but continue as fruit flies, ad infinitum.

Resort to paleontological fraud only embarrasses promoters of elaborate schemes: Haeckel’s drawings were exposed as fiction as was Charles Dawson’s notorious Piltdown Man. The respected National Geographic’s 21st century hype of its dinosaur/bird fossil led to a belated retraction.

So, that’s it? Case closed? For all practical purposes, “yes!”

But if “evolution’s” linguistic umbrella is expanded to include designed hybrids and gene-splicing, diehards might still claim vindication, despite the reality that the warped interpretation doesn’t translate to “Darwinspeak.”

The overwhelming weight of evidence does cast a long shadow of doubt across iconic cornerstones of the chance hypothesis!  But before dancing in the streets, its worthwhile to pause and to take a serious, objective look at radiometric dating---evolution’s time card.

*****

As Darwin’s unproven gradualism crumbles, the science of geochronology has emerged to measure decay rates of inorganic elements. Ernest Rutherford introduced radiometric dating in 1905 as a methodology to determine the earth’s age.  Geochronological dates are calculated with reference to a variety of comparative decay rates: Uranium-lead; potassium-argon; samarium-neodymium; and rubidium-strontium lead the pack.

The age organic life forms lived on earth has been measured in reliance on the decay rate of 14Carbon---a methodology introduced by Willard F. Libby.

Nineteenth-century evolutionists conjectured 25 million years as time enough for random chance gradualism to work evolution’s “wonders.” Recognized as hopelessly optimistic, this number has been overwritten by today’s deep time guesstimates.

Facing assaults on an origins tradition, die-hard Darwinists seized the new radiometric dating technology as the magic elixir, ideally suited to attack the creation miracle. They put their chips on the table and played the radiometric dating time card.

Evolution advocates try to squeeze the time concept through an academic back door as redemption for the crippled evolution theory. Open-ended deep

time is an imperative to support Darwin’s prediction that “all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress to perfection.”

Radiometric dating stretches earth’s age by multi-millions of years, emerging as a handy ideological touchstone used to salvage a hint of respectability for the chance hypothesis.

Aided and abetted by a complicit media, multi-millions of deep time years has emerged as a favored strategy to skirt the yawning gaps in evolution’s unproven postulate. Time calibration defines an updated cutting-edge issue, rising to lynchpin status in pre-history analysis.

Those insisting that matter, water and the entire universe were created the week life was created, inadvertently surrender radiometric dating as a weapon to attack the Biblical account of the creation miracle.

The question: “How could the Biblical creation narrative be true if radiometric dating produced multi-million-year numbers for earth’s age?”

The answer: It shouldn’t be a problem if the Genesis account is accepted at face value and understood to mean creation week features the miracle of the creation of life and its ecological support system on a chunk of already existing, inert, water-covered matter, floating in dark space.

*****

This rational response to the ideological challenge recognizes radiometric dating as pertaining to the rock that enshrouds a fossil cemetery but doesn’t necessarily represent the actual date of the death of a once living plant or animal buried there.

When Mount St. Helens exploded in 1980, consuming mountain man Harry Truman, the obvious date of his death didn’t match the radiometric age allocated to the inorganic matter composing his burial site.

No thinker would swallow the myth that a deceased family pet, buried on the “back forty,” shares a birthdate with the age of the surrounding burial turf. It makes no scientific sense to assign fossil remains the same age as the matter surrounding the site of its discovery in order to accommodate dates allocated to evolution’s concocted trail of hoped-for transitionals.

An organism that lived and died 4,000 years ago should not be saddled with a 25 million-year radiometric age given the matter composing its burial site. Assumptive bias is an inadequate substitute for authentic science.

Consequently, the much older radiometric age of earth’s inanimate matter should prove irrelevant in determining the date of the first appearance of life on Planet Earth. Deprived of a radiometric dating crutch, evolution lacks any reliable tool to authenticate the supposition that any form of organic life existed on earth, millions of years before the present.

Fossil dating errors are further compounded when the assumed date of a plant or animal’s death is based on the radiometric date of the site of discovery and then extrapolated to date a similar fossil at another geographic site believed to occupy a comparable place in the geologic column.

Radiometric dating doesn’t claim credentials as antiquity’s stopwatch. Assumptive factors, built into the equation, expose the calculation to possible error! Glaring anomalies that can haunt the technology, prevent its being a fool-proof threat to the authenticity of the Genesis creation narrative!

© Muharrenz

Some ancient civilizations relied on stone sundials to tell time

Unless the quantity of parent and daughter isotopes in a rock are known as a fact certain when it was formed and absolute assurance there has been no contamination throughout the rock’s existence, the calculation can be flawed.

Gunter Faure sounded a warning of discordance in isotope geology.

“Unquestionably, ‘discordance’ of mineral dates is more common than concordance…the mineral dates generally are not reliable indicators of the age of the rock. Although examples of nearly concordant U, Th-Pb dates can be found in the literature…in most cases U-and Th-bearing significance is questionable.”  

Richard Leakey discovered what he believed to be a human skull in Kenya below rock “securely” dated at 2.6 million years ago. Radiometric dating of the KBS Tuff site ranged in erratic extremes from 0.52 to 17.5 million years before the present.

Was Leakey’s fossil burial site correctly dated at 2.6 million years BP?

Or was the site assigned a date tied to the conjectured age of the fossil?

Or could the discontinuity be the result of extrapolated, circular reasoning reminiscent of the chicken/egg syndrome?

“Since formations we study today inherit radioisotope features from previous formations (erosion processes forming sediments; volcanic process forming igneous deposits), there is uncertainty as to how much of the daughter-product concentration in the formations we study accumulated during the geologic lifetime of those formations, and how much of the current daughter-product concentration was inherited from their source material.

“The well-defined starting point for radioisotope age determination does not assure a relationship between the radioisotope ‘age’ and the geological age (true time of existence) of a specimen.”

Discordant dating plagues Hawaiian Island time measurements.

Using the potassium-argon method, ages ranging from 160 million to 2.96 billion years for lava flows that occurred in the year 1800 [1] have been obtained.

A cross-section of lava specimens taken from New Zealand’s Mt. Ngauruhoe volcanic eruptions in 1949, 1954, and 1975 show potassium-argon dates ranging from a more recent 270,000 years BP to a distant 3,500,000 years in the past. 7

Radiometric dating’s discordance may not be so shocking given tectonic dislocation of continents and magnetic pole radical shifts. Discordance lurks as an open secret, out-of-sync with time-certain events.  Many deep time calibrations offer imprecise approximations that can’t guarantee the absolute.

*****

Coal may not be as deep-time ancient as conventional radiometric dating techniques once suggested. In 1988, physicist Robert H. Brown reported the unexpected presence of 14C in coal seams previously dated in multi-million-year time zones. The 14C methodology is not feasible in dating something assumed conventionally to be millions of years old.

“Infinite age’ samples such as anthracite coal from deep mines in Carboniferous geologic formations (270-350 million years conventional age assignment) have yielded AMS 14C ages in the 40,000-year range at laboratories in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.A.”

Similarly, “Paleozoic and Mesozoic coal and oil dates with the Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) method …give maximum ages between 50,000 and 70,000 years. This indicates that they still have 14C and seem to be younger than 70,000 years.”

Using the AMS method and calculating 14C’s half-life at 5730 years, John R. Baumgardner’s 2003 findings recognized the raw measurement of the 14C/12C ratio improved from about “…1% of the modern value to about 0.001%, extending the theoretical range of sensitivity from about 40,000 years to about 90,000 years.”

Baumgardner obtained ten test coal samples from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Coal Sample Bank: ”Three coals from the Eocene part of the geological record, three from the Cretaceous and four from the Pennsylvanian.” 10 The ten samples represented a 200-million-year time spread according to conventional geological calculations.

The coal should be 14C dead given the AMS maximum limits of the 90,000-year measurement for traces of 14C. Instead of confirming absence of detectable levels of 14C, the AMS tests disclosed “…remarkably similar values of 0.26 percent modern carbon (pmc) for Eocene, 0.21pmc for Cretaceous, and 0.23 pmc for Pennsylvanian…little difference in 14C level as a function of position in the geological record.”

Nor does 14C dating explain soft-tissue discovered in fossils assumed to be many millions of years old. Conventional geochronology took a jolt in 2004 when paleontologist Mary H. Schweitzer reported the discovery of soft-tissue inside a fragment of a dinosaur femur unearthed in Montana. Implications sent rippling waves across time projections, real and imagined.

“Mary Schweitzer found fresh T. Rex femurs in 1991 and 2000, and a hadrosaur femur with blood cells in 2009.  She told Science in 1993, ‘it was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. 

“’But, of course, I couldn’t believe it.  The bones, after all, are 65 million years old.  How could blood cells survive that long?’” 

What about those allegedly 65 million-year-old “highly fibrous… flexible…resilient” T. Rex fossil fragments displaying “blood cells?”

“Blood cells” escaping complete decay for 65 million years? A “yes” answer resembles a Yogi Berra quote: "It's like deja vu all over again."

Billed as “unquestionably one of the most unexpected and important dinosaur discoveries of all time,” the début of Leonardo, a mummified hadrosaur, raised academic eyebrows.  More than a composite of “scattered collagen fibers,” the long-extinct reptile displayed “skin pattern and stomach contents…discernable,” with “whole tissues---in fact its whole body---still intact!”

Supposedly having lived and died 77 million years ago, “Lenny” defies conventional time-frame expectations.

With other recent discoveries, this find runs counter to multi-million-year time scenarios proposed for the presence of life-on-earth. Collagen protein supposedly turns to dust within 30,000 years. But now its been reported that some collagen has been found as “fossil” material.

“DNA is particularly prone to decay, yet ancient fossil ‘plants, bacteria, mammals, Neanderthals, and other archaic humans have had short aDNA sequences identified.”   

Dinosaurs, the theory says, went extinct 65 or 66 million years before the present, leaving behind only fossil remnants.  Then along comes Dakota, a hippo-sized, duck-billed hadrosaur unearthed by teenager Tyler Lawson on his family’s North Dakota property in 1999.

Apparently Dakota didn’t get the word that multi-millions of years of fossilization should be more than enough time to erase all traces of organic matter. Instead, Phil Manning’s University of Manchester team “found that although the proteins that made up the hadrosaur’s skin had degraded, the amino acid building blocks that once made up the proteins were still present.  They believe that the dinosaur fell into a watery grave, with little oxygen present to speed along the decay process.” 

The “watery grave” reference implies a collateral question: Could that hardrosaur have been a Global Flood victim?

In the colorful phraseology of the astonished Dr. Manning, “You’re looking at cell-like structures; you slice through this and you’re looking at the cell structure of dinosaur skin. That is absolutely gobsmacking.” 

There’s more to the story. The “gobsmacking” picture clashes head on with chance hypothesis interpretations. Could organic material actually survive 66 million years after the actual date of death and burial?  Wouldn’t that be a mega time span of 660,000 centuries of one-hundred years each?

Then along comes Shixue Hu, of China’s Chengdu Geological Center, reporting the discovery of a fossil cemetery of 20,000 fossils, many fully intact, buried fifty feet deep in a Luoping mountain in southwestern China.

But the stunner was the “soft tissues” found on some of the fossils!!!

Soft tissues that escaped decay for 250 million years?  Really?

Willard F. Libby, working with James Arnold, devised the 14C dating methodology by experimenting with wood samples, taken from Egyptian tombs known to be independently dated around 2625 BC. Applying the 14C/12C radiocarbon test ratio of 1 to 1 trillion, his findings checked out at plus or minus a few years. He based his calculations on the assumption that the carbon exchange reservoir was globally constant.

 “Carbon-14 is used to date dead plants and animals because plants and animals incorporate 14C into their bodies by eating, drinking, and breathing in an environment containing 14C…When the organism dies, however, it ceases to incorporate carbon into its body…Both 14C and 14C to 12C decreases slowly for thousands of years after the death of the organism.”

Current calculations suggest that after death of an organism, the 14C atoms decay by one-half every 5,730 years. When the ratio diminishes to 1 part to 2 trillion, this signals the organic life form died approximately 5,730 years ago. The Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) is the scientific tool used to measure that 14C/12C ratio used to calculate the age at death.

Critical to the calculation’s accuracy is the actual amount of 14C in the organism at the date of death and a definitive starting date. Even if the 14C/12C dating ratio proves reliable, the outside limits of the findings would be measured in only thousands, not millions of years.

14C dating of fossilized life forms computes maximum ages, but never “older than their 14C content would allow.”

But even a time range measurement of up to 90,000 years suggests an apparent conflict with contentions that the first appearance of any life on earth occurred but a few thousand years before the present. Before rushing to judgment that a 90,000, or even a 40,000-year date BP doesn’t correlate precisely with a more recent time for the creation event, an objective scholar recognizes that the carbon exchange reservoir is subject to variations that risk serious discordance. Discrepancies can plague the formula.

Stopwatch precision characterizes some time measurements. The rising and setting of the sun can be pinpointed hundreds of years into the past and projected accurately, far into the future. Chronology demands impeccable mathematical standards. Radiocarbon dating delivers thought provoking clues to pre-history dating but it is vulnerable to discordance due to the constantly shifting conditions of the carbon exchange reservoir.

Determining the 14C/12C ratio in order to calibrate antiquity of a fossilized life form requires an accurate starting date. If the actual time of day is 6 A.M., but if a clock is set erroneously at 12-midnight, it will never show the correct time, however synchronously it ticks. In the event the 14C in the atmosphere is increasing faster than it is decaying, over time and in differing geographic locations, the 14C/12C ratio would require readjustment and the 14C time “clock” reset.

The British Museum’s radiocarbon laboratory ran an experiment by subjecting the identical test sample to the identical 14Carbon test every week for six months. The results shouted disturbing discordance. Among the findings, one of the weekly tests revealed a minimum age of over 4500 years while another showed a maximum age of under 4400 years. 

The discrepancy is a reminder of variant conditions that can impact the numbers given the use of an identical test sample under the auspices of the same, respected laboratory, and the relatively early phase of the first 5,730 years of the decay process. The carbon exchange reservoir is subject to a wide range of time and geographic variations.

The 14C/12C ratio in the Northern Hemisphere oceans varies from the ratio in Southern Hemisphere oceans. Surface and deep ocean ratios may vary with some deep-sea areas showing radiocarbon ages of thousands of years. There are living seals and whales that appear centuries old by radiocarbon dating.

Carbon tossed into the atmosphere by volcanic explosions can upset the dating formula.  Living plants on the Greek island of Santorini show ages of up to a thousand years, compliments of a nearby volcano. 21

Hessel de Vries spotted a significant variation in the ratio by analyzing tree rings. The Global Flood’s sudden burial of vast forests and spreads of rich vegetation, combined with explosions from “fountains of the deep,” could cause radical modification of the carbon exchange reservoir. Earth’s fading magnetic field would also upset the 14C time clock. Release of CO2 into the atmosphere from use of fossil fuels in recent years shows older dating. Nuclear testing following World War II virtually doubled 14C in the atmosphere at the time.

Contamination and isotopic fractionation can also impact the 14C/12C ratio resulting in erroneous calculations. “…Penguins living in the Antarctic today have yielded 3000 year old carbon 14 [14C] ages…Seals killed recently have ages of 1000 years…” 22 “Living mollusk shells have been dated by the C-14 method at up to 2,300 years…a freshly killed seal at 1,300 years, and wood from a growing tree at 10,000 years.”

Radiometric dating offers no panacea to erase evolution’s flaws. Circular reasoning projects bootstrap rationalization, a conclusion based on concocted conjecture. It may contribute to a fictitious paper trail, but it delivers nothing more than a guesstimate derived from assumption based extrapolation.

Caveat: Can heavy doses of radiation from an atomic explosion scramble

Carbon 14 and other radiometric dating time calculations?  Stay tuned! Until science answers definitively, evolution’s time card remains a ‘joker.’

Against All Odds
First Life

Molecular Machine
Evolution's Stumbling Block

DNA Dictates Design
Language of Life